Deer Shed Festival

Baldersby Park, Yorkshire 26/7/18

(Ed – Following on from last year’s mightily impressive Deer Shed review, we once again asked Bowie Pennington for an insider’s perspective on this critter-sized festival)


“We don’t have kid’s areas, they’re not zoo animals!” declare DEER SHED. Well, clearly they’ve not met me and my sister, Georgia. We’re proper beasts. So mum and dad say. But, Georgia has been struck down with chickenpox so she can’t come to Deer Shed this year. She’s had to stay at home with mum. She’s proper scabby and my mum is well cheesed off. Auntie Grace has come instead. She’s really, really rubbish at pumping the airbed up. Dad is much better, but nowhere near as good as Auntie Grace at spinning plates in the Circus tent.

Everything has turned fishy at Deer Shed this year, our gilled friends are everywhere! While I’m sitting on my Dad’s shoulders, bouncing away to JANE WEAVER – who sounds like a sparkling moon-dusted rocket – three huge, glowing puffer fish come over to say hello. All bright and rainbow-coloured, they dance through the tent like a school in the ocean.

DRENGE are my favourite band of the weekend and they take all this fishy-business to the next level, inviting a whole manner of deep sea beasts onto the stage with them, including a ginormous jellyfish. Its glowing blue tentacles wrap around the band who bat them off with their trademark monster riffs and big ol’ hooks. Brave boys.

The whole main arena this year feels like one HUGE jellyfish. The main stage is its big, noisy, music-emitting head, with gleaming bright laser eyes and stinky smoke breath. The multi-coloured field of boys and girls, mums and dads, aunties and uncles and grannies and granddads is its picnic blanket patchwork body. And the millions of swing balls around the edge of the field are its spinning tentacles. I love swing ball. It’s probably in my top five things in the world. Dad thinks it’s cool when he gets to play swing ball at the same time as watching GOLDFRAPP and drinking his beer.

Deer Shed 2018 Image

We snuggle down on a sofa in the big top before bed and watch a film about an American lady called SUZANNE CIANI. She makes robot music. It sounds a bit like Button Moon. It makes me really sleepy. We have a quick dance at the bubble hut on the way back to the tent and get an ice cream before bed.

It’s morning and the tent is lobster pot-hot, so I escape as quick as possible. We stop for an icy berry smoothie on our way to the sports field where I play in a massive football match with lots of boys and girls and some coaches from a team called Middlesbrough. (Dad tells me Middlesbrough are only any good because Steve Vickers left Tranmere to go there years ago, but I don’t really know what he’s on about.) After football it’s sock wrestling, which is amazing! You have to drag your opponent’s sock off. It’s like sumo wrestling but without the weird undies and there’s a commentator and everything. There’s a boy called the Ginger Octopus who beats his mum. He’s my favourite.

We go on a huge adventure in the Wilderwild and save the good guys from the bad guys by pelting them with water bombs, before making kites in the woods and getting all bouncy and giddy in a trampoline tree house.

Deer Shed is different to any other festival we’ve been to; it is a festival for kids that mums and dads are allowed to come to, not one of those festivals for adults which kids get dragged around. And, there’s loads of cool bands on to keep the oldies happy, too. It is my favourite place in the world – on the land or in the ocean – and I can’t wait until next year when Georgia will be pox-free so she and mum can come back too.

Bowie Pennington (aged 5)

CURRENT ISSUE Bido Lito! Issue bulletin PLAYLIST
Bido Lito Liverpool Bido Lito Liverpool